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BushCo as Tower Sniper

Here's a nice open-eyed rant delivering some cold truth hard and fresh:

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Bush will remain President and keep his unsteady hand on the ship of state (with a veritable mafia of warmongers and greedheads standing behind him) right up until January 20, 2008, no matter what. [and beyond January 20, 2008...]

The Democrats will undoubtedly nominate another Brooks Brothers suited non-entity who will again ignore the progressive constituency of the party, not to mention the poor, the minority populations and others who have not shared in the American Dream because the Democratic Party seeks power for its own sake.

And since they are now inextricably tied to corporate money they will not now, nor ever, question the fundamental assumptions of American capitalism and what it is doing to our environment, our people, the world's less fortunate and our very souls.
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While we're told that this invasion is the cause of our Middle Class ills, the corporations will continue to run our lives as we run the treadmill longer, harder and more desperately for less pay, fewer benefits and less security.

Our laws were written, and our courts constructed and our police deployed, first and foremost, to protect those denizens of capitalism. And so they remain standing guard, doing their duty, and their minions continue to scramble for the crumbs from the master's table, taking solace in the belief that if they don't do this duty, someone else will.
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And the American people will not take to the streets. They will, instead, take it, because they, like their government, have made their own deal with the devil. They have forgotten and shamed the memory of our founding fathers and sacrificed essential liberty for the security of a comfortable middle class life which they will eventually lose anyway.

After all, someone could get hurt or tear-gassed or jailed actually protesting. And certainly no one will blame any overzealous police for just doing their jobs. And we wouldn't want our boss to see us thrown into a paddy wagon on the Six O' Clock News might be bad for the career.
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...then, later, he reaches what to me is the correct conclusion given the current economic & political situation and the political psychohistory of BushCo...

But the day will come with terrifying consequences. Our economy, overstretched by suburban expansion debt, consumer debt and national debt is already showing signs of wobbling and will not need much of a shove to start a cascade of dominoes that will make 1929 seem like child's play.
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If it all starts unraveling in a big way for the United States to the point where, constrained by a shattering economy, determined opposition by other nations over natural resources and the diminishment of Earth's carrying capacity because of environmental destruction, the man in the White House may decide to take the planet down with him.

Because I believe based on the record of American history that the people who now rule this nation, true sociopaths, believe a world in which America does not dictate terms is a world not worth living in. And if we can't have it, no one will.

Sounds to me like he's one of a growing handful of people who actually understands BushCo.

Sadly, it's looking increasingly like Canada isn't far enough away... but at least it's not the epicenter.

[Props to Operative Nobody]


The Phenomenology of Cogness

Seventh Continent
All these silly explanations that diminished the strength of the gesture.
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Everywhere I showed the film, these scenes rose protest. Because it's the worst taboo. It's much less shocking for parents to kill their children themselves, than for someone to destroy money.
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It's a portrait of rich countries.

     —Michael Haneke

I finally watched Michael Haneke's The Seventh Continent.

It depicts what neoliberals wish for all the human race: Consumerist Paradise; Neoliberal Heaven; Perfect Order, Complacency, and Safety. It also depicts, simply and quietly, its hellishness, and its ultimate repudiation (though negatively, from within). It's a veritable Documentary on the Unlived Life in extremis, a real existential horror story, not for the faint of soul. You know — our "lives", in Wealth Bondage.

It's where Tati and Gaddis might have gone if they were Austrian and lost every vestige of humor.

Brilliant. Cathartic. Devastating. Human.

Powerful stuff, the place where Art captures/reveals Truth — for those receptive to its message, that is.

(And that brief touch of Berg's Violin Concerto...perfect!)

As I stepped forward into the clearing and addressed one of the workers, I felt the crushing weight of evil insect control forcing my thoughts and feelings into prearranged molds, squeezing my spirit in a soft invisible vice...
     —William S. Burroughs, The Soft Machine

(And I desperately hope our family finds another way to liberation from Wealth Bondage...we're working on it.)


Modern History in 179 Words

Though the Spanish-American War was a broad success for American militarism, its aftermath presented US empire with specific new challenges, as a result of which the modern American imperial structure took shape. It was immediately apparent in Cuba, and soon became clear in the Philippines, that Old World-style colonization — permanent occupation and direct rule — was unmanageable: too costly, too unwieldy, and in the Philippine case requiring an open-ended, brutal and bloody (a half-million or more Philippine deaths) repression. Traditional colonies, already seen to be gravely sapping European powers, needed replacing. What emerged was a form of indirect control which established the lineaments of twentieth-century American imperialism: invasion, often preceded by massive bombardment primarily intended to terrorize and "pacify" the civilian population; the establishment of long-term US military encampment, and the build-up, corruption, and subordination of the local military; and, in the "peace" that follows, reconstruction into a new (weak) state, under terms dictated by the US and its corporate clients. The new polity is then administered by local elites, whose brutalities substitute for those of the withdrawing American power.

Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War, p 85


Vada Malbro

I used to be an avid reader of fiction, but I just don't have the patience for it anymore. I find lately that trying to enter the realms of the imaginary is a chore, like chewing rock-hard bubble gum: if I persist I may eventually enjoy it, but it hardly seems worth the effort. About the only fiction I've been able to read at all lately is William Burroughs.

I suppose there are many reasons for this: I'm older and more easily bored by prosaic fantasy, facile psychology, and simple cleverness; the professional polish of contemporary authors irks me the same way Hollywood movies do; what little time I have for reading is more fruitfully spent on serious non-fiction to help me understand where we are and how we got here; and, finally, I just seem to have outgrown it. When I do finally get around to reading fiction it's usually something by someone dead, rather tomelike, and very dense. Thus I almost never read short stories (with the exception, lately, of George Saunders).

Plus I require a very strong voice in my fiction — fiction must engage me intellectually and aesthetically: I'll take Henry James and George Meredith over Anthony Trollope and Ernest Hemingway any day. I don't read fiction for the story; I read fiction to see reality filtered through a particular worldview uniquely and gorgeously expressed.

But, when not attempting to write the next formulaic bestseller, it seems that writers today feel compelled to prove they have a unique voice the way Hollywood directors do, resulting in nothing so much as a lot of inventive sameness, finding various clever ways to say the same things, and there's something bloodless about it all. Thus I almost never read living authors either (with the exception, lately, of Elfriede Jelinek).

So when Bruce mentioned some story by some unknown author it didn't even register. But when he mentioned it again I figured it might be worth checking out.

The story at her site — The Sheds — is definitely worth reading.

Currently that's the only story she's posted. She promises a screenplay later this summer. And she says she's working on the first of a five part series of novels.

Judging from this one story, I'd say she has a deep understanding of the calculus of power: The Sheds tackles one of the most difficult issues of our time in a poetic, powerful and accessible way, providing insights that can only come from fiction and art. (And I expect it could seriously piss off a lot of people for that very reason, too.) Malbro has something to say, and she says it very well.

I can spot some influences. Tom was reminded of David Lynch and Todd Solondz. I think that's astute — her style is very visual, very cinematic. I think I detect some Paul Bowles, JG Ballard, and George Saunders too.

But it's hard to assess an author's style from one story. And yet it seems she has found her voice — it's uniquely her own, and it's a voice very much of our time. It is, actually, the first piece of fiction I've read in a while that's excited me.

She has great promise, but one story does not a writer make. I very much hope there are more to come.

And I don't think her passive-aggressive approach towards the publishing industry will help her get noticed. Pity. Someone should tell her about flies, honey, and vinegar, and remind her about Jack London's first story. (Though I understand and respect where she's coming from — it's just not going to get her published, is all.)

Plus I see she, too, is happy to live in Toronto. I hope our paths will cross sometime...


Gullibility Factor

Your GF score is 100.

It's sometimes nice to confirm one's assumptions...

(But, frankly, the questions were easy...)

Free Thinker

Welcome to the top 5%. You're a true free thinker and a person who is well informed about the reality in which you live. Although you may have been easily manipulated earlier in life, you eventually gained lucidity and developed a healthy sense of skepticism that you now automatically apply to your observations and experiences. You are endlessly curious about human behavior and the nature of the universe, and you have one or more lifestyle habits that most people would consider odd or unusual. You are not only of very high intelligence, you are also extremely creative in one or more areas (music, art, software development, inventing, etc.)

If you were in The Matrix, you would have taken the red pill, completed the combat training, and started fighting (and beating) agents from day one.

Your architects: You have cast off reality distortions taught to you by your parents, schooling, corporate advertising and government propaganda. You create your own beliefs based on what serves you best, without much regard for what the rest of the crowd is doing. You are guided by your own internal code of ethics (which may or may not agree with politically-correct ethical codes) rather than any pre-set system of ethics (such as from any one religion).


Recursive Unfolding

The Pentagon's "Second 911"

"Another [9/11] attack could create both a justification and an opportunity to retaliate against some known targets"

by Michel Chossudovsky

In the month following last year's 7/7 London bombings, Vice President Dick Cheney is reported to have instructed USSTRATCOM to draw up a contingency plan "to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States". Implied in the contingency plan is the certainty that Iran would be behind a Second 9/11.

This "contingency plan" uses the pretext of a "Second 9/11", which has not yet happened, to prepare for a major military operation against Iran, while pressure was also exerted on Tehran in relation to its (non-existent) nuclear weapons program.

What is diabolical in this decision of the US Vice President is that the justification presented by Cheney to wage war on Iran rests on Iran's involvement in a hypothetical terrorist attack on America, which has not yet occurred:

The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing—that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack—but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections. [em. mine]

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In April 2006, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld launched a far-reaching military plan to fight terrorism around the World, with a view to retaliating in the case of a second major terrorist attack on America.
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This plan is predicated on the possibility of a Second 911 and the need to retaliate if and when the US is attacked:

"A third plan sets out how the military can both disrupt and respond to another major terrorist strike on the United States. It includes lengthy annexes that offer a menu of options for the military to retaliate quickly against specific terrorist groups, individuals or state sponsors depending on who is believed to be behind an attack. Another attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets, according to current and former defense officials familiar with the plan.

This plan details "what terrorists or bad guys we would hit if the gloves came off. The gloves are not off," said one official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject. (italics added...)

The presumption of this military document, is that a Second 911 attack "which is lacking today" would usefully create both a "justification and an opportunity" to wage war on "some known targets [Iran and Syria]".

The announcement on August 10 by the British Home Office of a foiled large scale terror attack to simultaneously blow up as many as ten airplanes, conveys the impression that it is the Western World rather than the Middle East which is under attack.

Realities are twisted upside down. The disinformation campaign has gone into full gear. The British and US media are increasingly pointing towards "preemptive war" as an act of "self defense" against Al Qaeda and the State sponsors of terrorism, who are allegedly preparing a Second 911. The underlying objective, through fear and intimidation, is ultimately to build public acceptance for the next stage of the Middle East "war on terrorism" which is directed against Syria and Iran.

Does anyone still harbor the delusion that America is a democracy?

Or are people starting to realize that there's been a hostile takeover (in the boardroom sense) of America by corporate insiders of the energy/intelligence/military sector?

Is it even conceivable that anyone can still believe that BushCo gives a fuck what anybody thinks?

It doesn't matter, really, I suppose. Reality is as reality is. Innocents get killed, criminals thrive, injustice triumphs, evil prevails — it's the way history plays out given man's evolutionary psychology. (And it's the way of Nature, too, for that matter — Nature knows nothing of Justice. "The true laws of Nature are crime and death." —Sade [more here]) BushCo will do whatever they do, and they will get away with it. The oblivious majority will continue to work crap jobs, watch crap TV, shop for crap & vote for more crap. Those few who see what's going on will have the privilege of watching the spectacle continue its recursive unfolding with some understanding, providing a bit of "value added" bitter entertainment like some kind of grotesque historical fractal pattern to be discussed while lunching at the pub.

BushCo's recent prank is already being deployed as a great reason to increase surveillance and police powers long planned for.

But though reality is as it is, we must nevertheless continue to see clearly while believing in the future, to have, as Gramsci put it, "pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will" — our humanity demands it.

But right now, the insanity currently unfolding is a juggernaut out of control. So hug your kids, smile at your neighbors, eat some good food, watch a funny movie. 'Cause the next act of the show may happen sooner than anyone thinks.



War Resisters Support Campaign: A New Underground Railroad

I will share an email that was forwarded to me. It's from The War Resisters Support Campaign:
Dear friends,

Over the past few days two US soldiers refusing to fight in Iraq have arrived in Toronto. (Another arrived yesterday in Vancouver.)

There is a noticeable increase in the number of soldiers seeking refuge in Canada. The War Resisters Support Campaign is sending an urgent appeal for housing for the new arrivals. If you or someone you know can provide temporary housing (anywhere from one week to a month or more) to help them get on their feet, please [contact us], or email resisters@sympatico.ca.

I contacted them. Apparently the response has been very good — all their current needs have been met because there are, seemingly, quite a few people out there willing to provide housing for those soldiers brave enough to refuse to commit atrocities for a coterie of amoral vorocrats.

To me, in all honesty, these soldiers are the true heroes of the war: their refusal to fight in grossly unjust wars takes real courage. In choosing to put the good of humanity above the mendaciously averred good of their own clan they have chosen the high road, the road that compels one to follow the dictates of one's own conscience — which is a terribly frightening thing to do, trusting one's own moral compass in the face of enormously loud and powerful voices arrayed against oneself, voices that are both external and internal.

For the sake of humanity they deserve all the help, support and approbation we can give them. They have chosen a difficult path, even if it is the one — no, especially because it is the one — that abides by international law against the systematic criminal enterprises of an executive and legislative gangster class, a class that thinks nothing of squandering lives in the commission of their crimes.

Speaking of which, here's a reminder (for those who need it) of what makes those enterprises criminal:

Nuremberg Principles

Principle IV

The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

Principle VI

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

   (a) Crimes against peace:

       (i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

       (ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

    (b) War Crimes:

        Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation of slave labor or for any other purpose of the civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the Seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

    (c) Crimes against humanity:

        Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.

Principle VII

Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.

Judging from this I'd say that before an impartial judge American soldiers would be guilty on all counts.

In refusing to be criminals, in refusing to be complicit in the criminal enterprises of a criminal state, those soldiers who have the bravery to say No! deserve our admiration and our help.

That's why I am happy to spread the word and give them my support.


Fiction Won, Reality Nill (Quote of the Day)

In a complex environment people listen to whomever makes the most sense -- whomever tells the best story. If you still depend on linear analysis and facts to persuade others, then you can't make sense. It is impossible.
     —Annette Simmons, The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling

The author intends this as a positive reason to deploy the efficient and effective use of storytelling as a vital strategy for success in leadership and modern-day business. Storytelling is a vital tool of salesmanship, of marketing strategy, of bringing people to your side; it's a way to use "truth" to sell something. In a word, propaganda.

But it also explains the ontological use of storytelling behind history. I think it more effectively sums up the tragic paradox of human history, the kind that gets people to burn witches, go to church, and vote for Bush. People like stories & entertainment. They don't want to know the truth.

And this is especially dangerous "in a social order dedicated to the end of discourse and the rule of entertainment" such as America has become.

Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do.
     —Bertrand Russell

The bewildered herd are a problem. We've got to prevent their rage and trampling. We've got to distract them. They should be watching the Superbowl or sitcoms or violent movies or something. Every once in a while you call on them to chant meaningless slogans like 'Support Our Troops,' and you've got to keep them pretty scared because unless they're scared properly and frightened of all kinds of devils that are going to destroy them from outside or inside or somewhere, they may start to think, which is very dangerous because they're not competent to think, and therefore it's important to distract and to marginalize them.
     —Noam Chomsky

It is common to assume that human progress affects everyone -- that even the dullest man, in these bright days, knows more than any man of, say, the Eighteenth Century, and is far more civilized. This assumption is quite erroneous...The great masses of men, even in this inspired republic, are precisely where the mob was at the dawn of history. They are ignorant, they are dishonest, they are cowardly, they are ignoble. They know little if anything that is worth knowing, and there is not the slightest sign of a natural desire among them to increase their knowledge.
     —H. L. Mencken


When the Boy Who Cried Wolf Becomes The Mayor of Sheepleton

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration posted an unprecedented code-red alert for passenger flights from Britain to the United States and banned liquids from all carry-on bags Thursday, clamping down quickly after British authorities disrupted a frightening terror plot.

The recent arrests that our fellow citizens are now learning about are a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation.
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This country is safer than it was prior to 9/11. We've taken a lot of measures to protect the American people. But obviously, we're still not completely safe, because there are people that still plot and people who want to harm us for what we believe in. It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America. And that is why we have given our officials the tools they need to protect our people.

Travelers are going to be inconvenienced as a result of the steps we've taken. I urge their patience and ask them to be vigilant. The inconvenience is -- occurs because we will take the steps necessary to protect the American people.

Again, I appreciate the close cooperation between our government and the government of the United Kingdom. The American people need to know we live in a dangerous world, but our government will do everything we can to protect our people from those dangers.
     —George W. Bush

  • Red Alert!
  • Terrorists caught in nefarious plot!
  • War!
  • Fear in the headlines!
  • The next 911!
  • Dangerous World!
  • Al Qaeda! Islamo-fascists!
  • More restrictions on liberty and travel!
  • Fear! No Safety! Fear!
  • Danger! Help! Protect Us! Save Us!

Yes, that's right — it's election time again.

Q: When an inveterate liar tells the truth how is one supposed to know? Should we be inclined to believe him? How can one possibly reach a conclusion as to the veracity of a claim in such a circumstance, especially when it concerns information that only the liar is privy to?

Thus it's almost irrelevant whether or not this "terror" plot is for real.

No, let me correct myself — it is irrelevant.

Being one of history's great gamers, once again BushCo (and friends) have created a scenario that is a win-win for them. If the terrorist plot was for real, they have succeeded in foiling it. Hurray! If the plot was phony, they still appear to have come to the rescue while making themselves impervious to criticism. Hurray! Syndrome = BushCo

(And, coincidentally, this occurred so soon after the neocons lost their favorite democratic enabler, too...)

(Speaking of which, how about this bit of historical black humor:

"For Ned Lamont to say what's happening in Iraq has nothing to do with the war on terror shows how ill prepared he is to be a U.S. senator," Gerstein said. "Iraq, right now, is ground zero in terms of terrorist activity."

Hmm...I wonder why Iraq is ground zero for terrorist activity? Can't imagine. They must hate the new freedoms America went to such pains to bestow upon them, I guess.

Undoubtedly there are plots being devised against America. Undoubtedly there are many plots. Undoubtedly one of them will successfully hatch (probably shortly before an election).

And of course it's far better to foil a crime before it occurs than to apprehend the criminals afterwards.

But there's a vast gray area between intent and commission. And we, the public, find ourselves in a position where we need to believe liars using instruments of propaganda to convince us of their heroism, foresight, and competency in preventing some horrendous crime.

For some reason I'm reminded of the I Love Lucy episode where a door-to-door salesman sells vacuum cleaners: when the lady of the house opens the front door the salesman immediately chucks a lump of dirt onto the carpet, soiling it terribly. Of course she's outraged at the effrontery. But then the salesman comes to the rescue by sweeping it up with his wonderful vacuum cleaner. And thus a sale is made to the grateful housewife. (Also, as we discover later in the show, sometimes the vacuum cleaner doesn't work.)

To extend the metaphor, instead of clumps of dirt let's say the salesman takes a shit on the carpet. Soon flies are attracted to it. The salesman, after beating the housewife, spreads the shit around, pretends to swat a few flies, then demands her eternal gratitude for getting rid of a few flies.

For flies like shit — they are attracted to it. So if an imperial power takes a dump on the world you can expect flies to show up. That's part of the whole point, isn't it? It provides the pretext that will justify the power's authority to maintain its power (while also providing the pretexts that will both funnel money to their pet industries and further restrict the sheeple's messy freedoms). Then, when flies swarm to the pile of shit the Imperial Protector will come to the rescue and swat them away to our abiding gratitude.
["The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the 'state of emergency' in which we live is not the exception but the rule. We must attain to a conception of history that is in keeping with this insight." Walter Benjamin's diagnosis, which by now is more than fifty years old, has lost none of its relevance. And that is so not really or not only because power no longer has today any form of legitimization other than emergency, and because power everywhere and continuously refers and appeals to emergency as well as laboring secretly to produce it. (How could we not think that a system that can no longer function at all except on the basis of emergency would not also be interested in preserving such an emergency at any price?)
     —Giorgio Agamben]

Plus, I can't help but wonder what kind of clever schemes those islamo-fascists will come up with next. Incendiary cabbage-patch dolls? No, too obvious. How about exploding knee-caps? No, too unstable. I know — concentrated plastique inside dental bridges, with fiber-optic detonator threads hidden inside the elastic bands of underwear. This will unfortunately necessitate full strip and cavity searches of all airline passengers (except for business class passengers — correction: white business class passengers in expensive business suits).

And we just cannot overlook my favorite quote: "people who want to harm us for what we believe in". Yes, that must be the reason, the only reason, why America has so many enemies who wish to use their very own bodies as weapons with which to kill many Americans.

Then again, maybe Bush is right. Maybe the reason there are so many terrorists determined to kill innocent Americans is because they really do hate "what we believe in." Things like believing America can, with impunity, indiscriminately bomb, torture, rape and murder whomever it wants. Things like believing America alone has the moral authority to commit terrorism. Things like believing America has the right to submit the world to its diktats at the barrel of a howitzer. Yes, America does love its freedoms, especially those freedoms that grant it the impunity to run roughshod around the world, destroying the lives of innumerable innocent souls. I guess, from this perspective, perhaps they do want to harm America for what it believes in.

So just remember, rounding up a handful of terrorists intent on blowing up airplanes with iPods and Gatorade is protecting America from acts of incomprehensible evil — incomprehensible because how can anyone but insane islamo-fascists hate what we believe in: Freedom™, Democracy™, & Cheap Burgers™. But using a great nation's airforce to indiscriminately exterminate entire villages, institutionalizing torture, killing thousands of children, taking out a country's entire infrastructure... this is American-style evangelism, exporting Freedom™, Democracy™ & Cheap Burgers™ via genocidal violence. Clearly the islamo-fascists fail to appreciate just what America is doing for them.

The truth is, we will never know the truth about the recent escapade.

But then, it doesn't matter, really, does it?

One thing is certain, however. BushCo's numbers are down — except for their perceived ability to protect America from terrorism. There's an election coming up. Don't be surprised if there are more of these episodes to come.

(Personally, I think they'll reserve the really big "band-together call-off-the-election spectacular" for the next presidential election: I see little chance that the coming election will have any effect on the imperial exercise of executive power.)

Note: Seems I'm not the only jaded cynic who reached the same conclusion.

Update [added later on 08/12/06]
Bush gets 55 pct approval on security: poll
Sat Aug 12, 3:00 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fifty-five percent of Americans approve of President George W. Bush's handling of homeland security, an 11 percent jump from May, according to a Newsweek poll released on Saturday.

The poll was taken Thursday and Friday, after British authorities foiled a plot to use chemical bombs to bring down as many as 10 airliners flying from Britain to the United States.

Bush's approval rating rose to 38 percent, a 3-point increase since Newsweek conducted its last poll in May.

Fifty-four percent of respondents said they would oppose a ban on all carry-on baggage on commercial flights, the poll said.

Taken three months ahead of congressional elections, the survey found 44 percent of respondents said Republicans would do a better job handling terrorism, compared with 39 percent who preferred Democrats.

Wow, what a coincidence — less than fourteen hours after my post, too.

Update [added 08/13/06]

Reuters Sun Aug 13, 9:42 AM ET
White House officials believe the importance of pursuing the war on terrorism, an issue brought to the fore by the British terror plot, plays to their favor and they plan to talk about it on the campaign trail.

Yes, it is indeed All About the Timing:

News comes tonight from MSNBC that there was disagreement between U.S. and British officials on when to make arrests related to the recent terror plot.

A senior British official knowledgeable about the case said British police were planning to continue to run surveillance for at least another week to try to obtain more evidence, while American officials pressured them to arrest the suspects sooner. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case.

In contrast to previous reports, the official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports.

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This is not a definite thing here but it sure does look like the Bush administration is politicizing terror, again. The fact that folks such as Cheney, Lieberman, Mehlman and others started aggressively pushing the "weak on terror" narrative after Bush knew about the plot and before the arrests were made, makes it difficult to deny.

Seems the script is now so obvious, predictable, and trite that it's starting to become political cornpone.

Update [Added 08/16/06]

Seems I was a mistaken about airport security necessitating full strip and cavity searches of all airline passengers. That would be too cumbersome, wouldn't it? airport security

Seems that there's now technology "to reduce the 'hassle factor' in airports and to reduce security threats."

It also seems there are no limits to the invasiveness of the State in acquiring information in the name of security.

How much will people take before they won't cooperate anymore?

If the orderly lines to the showers or open pits are any indication, there are no limits — for both State Invasiveness & Victim Cooperation. Tragically, we seem to share much with frogs in a kettle and the chefs who put them there.

Wouldn't it be great if, instead of cooperating with these new "security" measures at airports, people decided to slow down and take the train or boat instead?

Update [Added 08/17/06]
The UK Terror Plot — What's Really Going On?
So this, I believe, is the true story.

None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not even have passports, which given the efficiency of the UK Passport Agency would mean they couldn't be a plane bomber for quite some time.

In the absence of bombs and airline tickets, and in many cases passports, it could be pretty difficult to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that individuals intended to go through with suicide bombings, whatever rash stuff they may have bragged in internet chat rooms.

What is more, many of those arrested had been under surveillance for over a year - like thousands of other British Muslims. And not just Muslims. Like me. Nothing from that surveillance had indicated the need for early arrests.

Then an interrogation in Pakistan revealed the details of this amazing plot to blow up multiple planes - which, rather extraordinarily, had not turned up in a year of surveillance. Of course, the interrogators of the Pakistani dictator have their ways of making people sing like canaries. As I witnessed in Uzbekistan, you can get the most extraordinary information this way. Trouble is it always tends to give the interrogators all they might want, and more, in a desperate effort to stop or avert torture. What it doesn't give is the truth.
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We will now never know if any of those arrested would have gone on to make a bomb or buy a plane ticket. Most of them do not fit the "Loner" profile you would expect - a tiny percentage of suicide bombers have happy marriages and young children. As they were all under surveillance, and certainly would have been on airport watch lists, there could have been little danger in letting them proceed closer to maturity - that is certainly what we would have done with the IRA.

In all of this, the one thing of which I am certain is that the timing is deeply political. This is more propaganda than plot. Of the over one thousand British Muslims arrested under anti-terrorist legislation, only twelve per cent are ever charged with anything. That is simply harrassment of Muslims on an appalling scale. Of those charged, 80% are acquitted. Most of the very few - just over two per cent of arrests - who are convicted, are not convicted of anything to do terrorism, but of some minor offence the Police happened upon while trawling through the wreck of the lives they had shattered.

Manipulating the news for political advantage is all part of the game. Bush Pere, however, didn't have his son's sledgehammer finesse:
"We had to manipulate him to get him down there," said William McMullan, assistant special agent in charge of DEA's Washington field office. "It wasn't easy."

White House and DEA officials said they did nothing improper in their efforts to help Bush illustrate how widespread the local trade is.